The Rent Smart Brighton & Hove launch event was last week on Tuesday November 22nd at the University of Brighton, Grand Parade campus. It was a successful launch event, where a variety of members of the Council, voluntary organisations, universities and the community gathered to discuss and celebrate the project.
Rent Smart is a new partnership in Brighton and Hove committed to supporting private rented sector tenants in the city. It should be used by current and prospective tenants in Brighton & Hove who need guidance throughout the renting process, from the process of finding a place to moving out of a property. It also outlines the responsibilities of tenants and landlords when moving in to a property and during the tenancy, to prevent issues arising.
At the launch event, there were speeches from:
Tracey Hill, the lead Councillor for private rented sector housing, who outlined how the project has developed, why it is important in Brighton & Hove and what it aims to do.
Stephen Dudderidge, newly appointed Registrar of the University of Brighton, and Rebecca Foran, accommodation services manager at the University of Sussex, talking about their commitment to the project and the benefits it will bring to tenants, whether students or non-students.
Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council Warren Morgan, who expressed positivity of the launch and how he believes it will help the private rented sector in the city.
Citizens Advice Trustee Frances Harrison outlined the daily issues with housing in the city that Citizens Advice deal with and how Rent Smart can help prevent this and raise awareness of rights and responsibilities.
A volunteer, Matthew Eastman, from Citizens Advice also spoke about his own personal experiences of renting in Brighton and how he thinks Rent Smart will positively help prospective tenants, particularly those who may not have rented before.
Alex Brining from the Private Rented Solutions team at Brighton Housing Trust on some of the issues facing people trying to access private rented housing in the city, and how Rent Smart can help people find the information they need
Gary Waller, Chairman of Southern Landlords Association, gave the perspective of landlords and how he believes the relationship between a landlord and tenant is crucial in preventing problems and to maintain a good working tenancy. He emphasised that Rent Smart is crucial in ensuring tenants know their rights and responsibilities when renting to help maintain a positive renting experience.
At the launch, the use of AllAgents was encouraged. Rent Smart is encouraging tenants to use the website AllAgents.co.uk to leave reviews of letting agents to ensure tenants in the city have an accurate representation of letting agents. This will mean tenants can choose a letting agent based on more reliable reviews from other tenants, rather than those from a landlords perspective, as they may have different experiences with a letting agent.
Going forward, the Rent Smart partnership will focus on campaigns to raise awareness of particular issues in the private rented sector. Please signpost tenants and prospective tenants to the website if you think it can help them and help spread the word!